Pharrell is off to play South Africa. A few years back, choosing to play South Africa would have brought out massive crowds demanding the event be boycotted.
And, actually, that's what's happening this time, as Pharrell has done a deal with Woolworths. Because the South African retailer sources some of its stock from Israel, Woolworths has been a target for protests from Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Against Israel. And because Pharrell is co-promoting a thing with Woolworths, he's now become part of the target:
“He is about to face the biggest backlash any artist has faced in South Africa in over 30 years, since the days of apartheid,” said Braam Hanekom, a BDS South Africa board member.The rejection of the protest request won't stop the protests; it just means they're going to take a different form.
“He is walking into a very angry, unhappy environment because he has chosen to walk with Woolworths,” Hanekom told Reuters after the City of Cape Town denied an application by thousands to protest at Pharrell's first concert on September 21.